September 21, 2021

The World Live Breaking News Coverage & Updates IN ENGLISH

The World Live Breaking News Coverage & Updates IN ENGLISH

Friday Night Footlights: How Theater Bonds a Colorado Town

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, Friday Night Footlights: How Theater Bonds a Colorado Town, The World Live Breaking News Coverage & Updates IN ENGLISH
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, Friday Night Footlights: How Theater Bonds a Colorado Town, The World Live Breaking News Coverage & Updates IN ENGLISH
, Friday Night Footlights: How Theater Bonds a Colorado Town, The World Live Breaking News Coverage & Updates IN ENGLISH

These days, a permanent staff of eight balloons to an average of 90 contracted employees and artists from April to September. Each summer Creede Rep stages five full productions (revivals and a fair share of premieres) in its two venues, along with a kids program, cabaret, improv and staged readings of new plays.

The theater, which uses Equity actors for its main productions, has an annual budget of $1.3 million, sells over 25,000 tickets per season and brings programming to 37,000 students, most of them via outreach tours in rural and underserved communities in the Southwest.

It is financially a heavyweight, both as an employer and as a contributor to the tax base. But it is also an emotional anchor whose absence was deeply felt in 2020, when the coronavirus pandemic shut things down.

“Without the theater,” said Scott Lamb, a county commissioner, “it just wasn’t summer.”

At least 2021 has inched back to semi-normalcy: There are three plays instead of the usual five, with casts of just one or two actors, and they are being performed al fresco on a hilltop next to the cemetery, along with a show for kids. Cabaret performances and “Boomtown,” an improv show, take place under a tent at the Creede Hotel. (Masks are only required inside the theater lobby, which houses the box office.)

The outdoor setting makes it feel as if the theater and the Colorado mountains have truly become one. When I visited, it was hard not to be overwhelmed by the vision of a simple stage framed by stunning cliffs and rolling hills, with audience members sitting on blankets or folding chairs in “boxes” drawn in white lines on the grass.

The sets, props and lights were stored in containers parked near the driveway after each show, leaving only a bare platform in a field. It felt as if the theater could not bring itself to intrude on nature for very long.

With all this in mind, Creede Rep’s origin story feels even more unlikely, a half-century odyssey fueled by cockeyed optimism, can-do perseverance and disparate folks figuring out how to live together.

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